Karina Carachure Angel, recipient of the 2023-2024 President’s Scholarship, is grateful for the support and says the award will open doors and provide numerous opportunities when she transfers to UC Berkeley in the fall. Karina graduated from SBCC with honors, earning an Associate in Arts (AA) degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences: Social and Behavioral Sciences Emphasis, in addition to an Associate in Arts degree in English.

“Receiving the President’s Scholarship means the world to me,” Karina said. “No words could describe the immense gratitude I felt as I announced the news to my parents. There were tears of joy as well, from knowing that a financial burden—one that has often filled me and my family with terror—has been lifted from our shoulders.”

The President’s Scholarship is one of the top awards available through the SBCC Foundation and is endowed through the estates of Janet and Eugene Aiches and by the Luria Foundation. The scholarship recognizes an outstanding student who has demonstrated service to others, academic and personal achievement, leadership, resilience in the face of hardship, and potential for future success.

“Choosing SBCC has truly been one of the best decisions,” Karina said. “I found myself in a very supportive environment filled with opportunities. I was a mentor for the College Achievement Program (CAP) and a tutor for Peer Tutoring. In my second year at SBCC, I revived the MEChA (Movimiento Estudientil Chicano de Aztlan) club, and took on a leadership role as the president. Our main purpose in MEChA was to advocate and engage in a fight towards social equality and against injustices.”

Karina first came to SBCC as a Middle College student, attending high school by taking classes at SBCC as a student at Alta Vista Alternative High School in Santa Barbara. After graduating, she attended full-time as an SBCC Promise student. “I’m so grateful for the support through the SBCC Promise. With the costs of college covered, I was encouraged and motivated, and took advantage of every opportunity on campus—including EOPS, CAP, the Learning Resource Center, and the Math Tutorial Lab.”

Karina says that throughout her educational journey so far, the support she’s received through the resources and mentors at SBCC has been invaluable. She says her path has been paved and made possible by people who believe in her, which include her family members, whom she calls her “real-life superheroes.”

“Coming from a background in which I struggled to find an identity, I always searched for a home that is timeless. I come from a family of immigrants, and my years of upbringing were robbed by the struggle to feel a sense of belonging. I eventually learned what it means to create your own home—one that is ubiquitous, and timeless. Home is not a four-wall building or a street address; home is a feeling, and I’ve learned to find it everywhere I go.”

Growing up in a low-income family, Karina was initially encouraged to pursue a career in medicine, but she listened to her heart and decided to major in English—from there, doors she never noticed began to open.

“Becoming an English major was life changing,” she said. “It allowed me to meet my wonderful professors, and find myself fully consumed in literature and in the art of writing. Along with some of the best English classes, I was also able to take ethnic studies courses, where I felt both deeply connected and represented.”

Karina’s father always believed she would conquer the English language. He knew that she would not only master the language, but find a way to make it her own. “As a young child, the English language worked against me, but from now on, through my writing, I will give a voice to the voiceless and let them conquer the language. My dream is no longer to bring the American dream into my hometown, but to bring the stories of my hometown to America.”

“I am beyond grateful for the opportunities that SBCC and the Foundation have given me. And it’s in these moments that I realize I have a duty to pave the way for the next generation, and to keep giving back to my community. My family and I will always be grateful.”

Karina is excited to start the next chapter of her journey as an English major at UC Berkeley and feels prepared, thanks to the kindness and support from her family and the community at SBCC, which has opened doors and helped her blossom into the person she is today.

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